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Tag: Writing (page 2 of 4)

On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist IV


A friend fell in love with a cowboy through the Internet. They shared their hopes and dreams, and even discussed marriage and a baby — though my friend is in her 50s, and they’d never met. She planned to move to his state to live with him. She flew there, they connected for a few days, then he broke up with her. Now she is devastated, and telling her story to anyone who’ll listen. She sounds nuts, and I want to protect her. May I tell her to stop?

You must not just tell her to stop, you must force her to stop. Bind her, gag her, throw her into a lake, do anything you must to make her stop forcing her pathetic tales of broken-hearted misery on undeserving people. There is nothing more vile than someone unloading their heartbreak onto other people. How dare she inflict her misery upon someone else! Does she not understand that people do not care about her sadness!? Hopes!? Pfah! Dreams?! PFAH! These are the illusions of a weak mind. She allowed herself to be weak, to be seduced, and now she is paying for it. By all means, by fire and ice, by wolf and crow, shut her up or I will leave my shed in the woods and do it for you.

We do not have “cowboys” in Norway, but my understanding of their slack-jawed cattle wranglers is that they are not often indoors, much less on the internet. How did this feeble-minded friend of yours meet this “cowboy” on the internet if cowboys do not have or know how to use computers? She got what she deserved from following her “heart” straight into the arms of the deceiver. Actually, you know what? I like this liar cowboy. He has done Darkness’s work by breaking your foolish friend’s lovesick heart. He should be crowned champion and be allowed to break more hearts and more hearts and more hearts.

I have no experience with heartbrokenness. I was born into this world with a soul full of mist and have never felt anything but bleakness and the cold frost of Norwegian winters. I know only the call of the raven and the smell of smoke. Allowing yourself to feel for someone else is a sign of weakness. And for your “friend” to be so presumptuous that she thinks we will care when her weakness is revealed and exploited by the obviously more powerful “cowboy” only leads me to believe that she should be put out of her (and our) misery.

Kill your friend.

Soundtrack: Celeste’s “Misanthrope(s)”

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Ode on The Dude Sleeping Face Down On the Subway Bench

This morning I was inspired to write a poem after seeing a man sleeping face down on a subway bench. Here it is.

O! Dude sleeping face down on the subway bench
How do you stay asleep with passing trains?
They are so very very loud.
I wonder what sort of despair brought you to this place
Where face down on a subway bench is an ideal spot to sleep

Thank you, thank you. I think this is deserving of a new Writing subcategory.

On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist III


My fiancé and I are researching venues for our wedding rehearsal dinner. We found an Italian restaurant that seemed perfect. We sat with the manager and came up with menu ideas, and told him we would come back that night to try the food. We returned with a couple of friends and spoke with the night manager, who knew about us and promised to “take care of us.” The meal was multicoursed and delicious, but we were shocked by a $300 tab. Were we wrong to take the manager at his word and assume the meal would be free?

You are always wrong to assume things whether you are assuming your sacrificial dagger is sharp enough to cut the still beating heart from another human or that you are in a place to receive charity from a restaurant owner.

Have you used your brain for even a moment and realized that the manager might have meant something other than “I will give you free food, you pathetic worms”? That perhaps he just meant that he would ensure that you miserable cretins would have a nice time and have your desires tended to? Have you thought about that? Of course you hadn’t, you presumptuous cow. You think that you should be given something for free because you asked or because you misinterpreted what he said? Do you think he needs to court you to ensure that he can continue to put food on his table? I assure you, wench, that he does not.

Your mewling cries for charity are pathetic. You are weak. Charity is the refuge of those who lack the strength to care for themselves and affect their own futures. “Oh!! We expected free dinner! We are getting married! Poor us! It was 300 dollars! The manager said something vague that we thought meant one thing but meant something else! WHINE WHINE WHINE!!!”

While you are out there planning for your “rehearsal dinner” and “wedding” and “reception”, I am carrying on the more important work of purging this world of the blight of Christianity and spreading the unholy power of black metal. Do you think I ever once expected to get anything for free? Never. Though a vast majority of my income is paid through Norway’s generous social welfare system, I never took a handout a day in my life. You could learn from me what it means to be strong, to fight against adversity, to struggle. Instead you whine and complain about how hard it is to find a place to fill the fat, unrelenting mouths of your “family” and “friends”.

Furthermore, your adherence to the Christian tradition of marriage makes me vomit blood into the snow. The steam rising from my vomited blood stinks of copper and bile and whiskey and even this stench does not accurately describe my disgust for you. Don’t get married. Break off the wedding. Your fiancé will be better off without you.

Die in a fire.

Soundtrack: Gorgoroth’s “Under the Sign of Hell”

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On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist II


I work for a media company. We’re quite busy lately, and I would like to send our interns, who are unpaid college students, on the occasional coffee run, but it seems wrong somehow. I know they wouldn’t be learning anything, but isn’t it better for the company to have an unpaid intern and not a paid employee do this?

If I am correct in my assumptions, you work for some miserable nameless drone factory spreading the disease of capitalism across the world. You seek to poison minds with your Christian agenda. Though I do not support your doctrine of the light, let us examine your question from an intellectual standpoint, something I am sure you know nothing about.

First, if you are going to draft students into working as slave labor for you performing menial tasks, is it really so inappropriate to send them on other less educational menial tasks? Nonsense. Banality is banality. Whether they are filing a heart-crushing stack of paperwork or fetching coffee for you and your lazy officemates, what’s the difference? Both are a supreme waste of the students’ time. What could they possibly be learning from such nonsensical tasks as you have appointed them? Don’t waste the time of people you actually pay to be there on something as foolish as coffee runs. Use the slaves.

In the darkened days of college, I spent the longest winter of my life working as the intern at a local radio station here in Trondheim. I took the job primarily to steal blank cassettes on which to release my countless, brutal black metal projects and demos. Everyone know that cassette tapes are the ideal medium for distributing black metal demos. Only sell-outs would use CDs. And digital files? Worthless.

During my internship I was sent out for coffee many times, but did I ever feel like it was a waste of time? Of course I did. It was an enormous waste of time as are all internships. Therefore your interns are wasting their time by just being there, so if you waste their time in turn by sending them for coffee nothing is lost.

You know what, maybe you should all—paid and unpaid—go on coffee runs all day. Then your pathetic propagandist media empire would crumble into dust as is the fate of all humanity. I beseech the wolves of the new moon to feast upon your bones.

Hang yourself.

Soundtrack: Darkthrone’s “Transylvanian Hunger”

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On the Advice of Torgeir, The Black Metal Extremist

Editor’s note\\\ This is the first of a bunch of advice columns I’ve written for Vox Critica in the character of Torgeir The Black Metal Extremist. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. -TBL

The world can be a tricky place to manage and we all need a little help from time to time. But, all too often, the advice giver is just as messed up as the givee, what with all their pretensions about what’s right and what’s wrong and all the hang ups that come with giving advice for a living.

Today we introduce a new Vox Critica advice columnist: Torgeir, the Black Metal Extremist. We think you’ll find his particular brand of austerity is not out of place amongst the many advice columnists who flitter about the interwebs. Greet him warmly, for surely there are consequences who stand in defiance of his decree.

As always, the questions are real.


My girlfriend of six months has worn the same bra every day now for two weeks. I really wonder: Is this a normal thing for most women or a psychological issue? I feel it is a matter of hygiene, abnormal behavior, and also really gross.

If something so insignificant as whether or not she regularly changes her underwear bothers you, I suggest you stop analyzing her and start thinking about exactly what is wrong with you. Let me ask you some questions. What is normal? What is hygiene? If your vile lifemate has not changed her filthy undergarments for two weeks, what does it matter to you? Who are you to impose your fascist standards of cleanliness on her? What do you find, and I quote, “gross” about this? Are you some paragon of virtue who has never worn the same socks two days in a row? Who are you to judge this woman? When did you first recognize that you were a vile worm?

Do you look down on me, Torgeir, when you learn that I once wore the same leather armor for months without removing it or cleansing it of blood?

Many years ago, in the grim light of a winter’s dawn, as smoke rose from the embers of a recently burnt church, I raised my knife to the sky and plunged it into the chest of a man I had formed my first band with, a man who brazenly accused me of not truly being committed to the cause of purging this country of Christianity. When I felt his heart pumping blood all over my hands and I saw the light dim in his eyes, I knew that I was the victor. From his floating rib I fashioned a necklace as a grisly totem of my triumph. And what was the point? Nothing. There is no point. We are meat and when I took his life I changed nothing. His wasted existence is just another moment in time so vast and incomprehensible that our pathetic, weak, human brains can never possibly understand it. We are led by nature to believe that we have meaning and purpose, but this is a cold, dead world that will consume you and then forget you even existed.

To put this into words your feeble mind can comprehend, if you do not like that she does not change her bra for two weeks, liberate yourself of her. Stop being such a weak-willed worm and do what you must. In the end nothing matters at all. Do you think future humans will look back and care in the slightest that she did not change her bra? No one will ever even know she existed, just a stain on humanity’s poisoned genetic lineage. Soon she will be in the ground feeding worms and you will be dust.

Stab yourself.

Soundtrack: Emperor’s “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk”

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Get Drunk Tonight – Saint Vitus

Saint Vitus – Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Manhattan Ave @ Clay St.)

I have often said about Duff’s in Williamsburg that if someone had come along and offered 13 year old metalhead Joe money to decorate a bar, that Duff’s is exactly what I would have designed: dark, red lights, tits, horror movies on the television, metal blaring through the jukebox. Unfortunately I am no longer 13 and as much as I enjoy the ridiculous stereotypical metalheadness of Duff’s, sometimes I want a place I won’t be embarrassed to take a date but where I can still listen to heavy metal. Enter Saint Vitus.

A recent addition to Greenpoint’s myriad watering holes, Saint Vitus is a collaborative effort behind some dudes from Anella and Matchless who had the brilliant idea of creating a bar that is exactly what a 28 year old metalhead me would have designed if given the cash. Saint Vitus is a metal bar for grown ups and I love it. Whether you’re there to enjoy their line-up of local draught beer (Kelso, Sixpoint, Brooklyn) or to get shit faced on one of the many drink specials such as The Pope (Coors Banquet tallboy + a shot of Evan Williams + a pickleback), this place does not disappoint.

A seasoned drinker such as myself doesn’t feel odd sitting alone at the bar enjoying a solitary drink, even when surrounded by groups of folks there with the clear intention of making a night of it. Since this place is basically at the end of the world on Clay and Manhattan, I’ve never seen it so crowded that I find it obnoxious. Yet, the neighborhood seems to be genuinely excited about its opening and you’ll find a lively crowd there even on weeknights. And they play fucking Slayer and Iron Maiden all the time?! Holy shit, I love this place. I even heard Gojira the first time I went, which, if you are a fan of metal, you will know is some heavy shit. And I mean heavy as in HEAVY and heavy as in DEEP. Go alone. Go with friends. I don’t care. Just go. And eat a pork bun while you’re at it. Just look for the unadorned black store front with no sign.

In other good news, The Black Laser is now syndicated! Go read Vox Critica or perish!

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Kurt Vonnegut on the shape of stories

This hilarious talk by Kurt Vonnegut on the shape of stories is worth your 4 and a half minutes. Of course, what he says is also totally right. I’ve posted about Vonnegut and his ideas about writing before and his points stand. Listen and be enlightened but still confused.

On the topic of creative goals

I am, without a doubt and as evidenced by this site’s content, a voracious consumer of media. There’s no question about that. But consumption has never been enough for me. When I read a book, I want to write one. When I listen to music, I want to play some. When I see a film, I want to make one. You get the idea. It isn’t about competing or some sense that what I would make is superior, but about this sense that making things is fun and rewarding and I would like to have fun and feel satisfied that I’ve made something cool, something that someone else will take pleasure in, no matter how small. It is not about fulfillment of my ego, but about sharing and inspiring and making people feel better and laugh and sing. That feeling is a driving force behind The Black Laser, for sure. When I see I am getting lots of hits, I am motivated to continue to share things. When someone comes up to me and says they read something I wrote here and they agreed or disagreed or had some thoughts or whatever, I feel encouraged to continue to put things up here. It is a self-fulfilling cycle. I am glad every day that 2 and a half years ago I put this site up as a place to share and vent and comment. It serves that purpose, but it is not my only creative outlet (nor should it be).

A few weeks ago, a friend and I were sitting at Rai Rai Ken in the East Village enjoying a wonderful, warming bowl of ramen after a long had day of museuming at the Met. As happens every time I go to a museum (without taking into account that we spent like 7 hours there), my brain was alight with creative thoughts and notions and directions, buzzing with possibilities as I slurped down my ramen. The conversation took a turn toward creative pursuits and I started going off on some of the things I would like to accomplish in the future, short-, medium-, and long-term. And I recognized that most of them are tied into how they make other people feel. I mean, what is the point of making things if you don’t share them and they don’t affect people?

And so my goals are, in no particular order…

I would like to write a record that makes people want to dance. – I love dancing. There’s no secret about that. I think it would be really fun for my work to be floating around, getting played in clubs or homes or schools or work places or cars, and making people want to shake their asses. It’s my contribution to the obesity epidemic: lose weight by shaking that corpulent rump. It’s good exercise and it’s fun. I’d like to inspire that.

I would like to write a song that people want to sing along to. – Have you ever hung out with me for longer than maybe like 15 minutes? And have you ever been around when a song I really like has come on the stereo/jukebox/whatever? Well, then you know I am almost definitely going to be singing along to it loudly. Very loudly in some cases. There are a lot of songs like that which have had real effects on my life in positive ways. For example, you want to make me feel better almost immediately? Put on Pulp’s This Is Hardcore and not only will I sing along to every single word, but my mood will lift demonstrably. I would like to help people feel the same way. To feel the same way I feel when I’m singing along to Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy” or The Magnetic Fields’ “Papa Was a Rodeo”.

I would like to write a collection of short stories. – I’m sort of on the way to this one. I bet that somewhere, buried in the archives of The Black Laser’s fiction section are the seeds of at least 12 decent short stories. I think 12 is a good place to start and then go from there. There’s nothing specific I want to accomplish with the short stories, but I’d like to use the whole collection to explore some themes I wrestle with regularly: loneliness, desperation, sadness, shame, regret. Cheery stuff mostly.

I would like to write a novel. – As long as I can remember, I’ve been a dedicated reader of novels. I love them. I love the challenge that a good novel presents, working to make sense of what the author has laid out on the page. If there’s anything I dislike about writing, it is when you are handed huge chunks of back story or motivations in expository passages. The worst. I like to have my brain engaged with making sense of the fiction I’m presented with, if it is science fiction, literature, fantasy, horror, whatever. I’d like to engage readers on this level too, to see if I can craft a puzzle that is finely crafted enough that the reader can eventually make sense of what I’ve tried to say while being entertained.

I would like to read books on tape. – Or books on MP3 or whatever the next delivery format for audiobooks will be. This just seems like a really fun thing to do and that’s about it. I love reading and I’ve got an all right voice, so why not?

I would like to edit a feature film professionally. – I’ve assisted on a feature film that did pretty well for itself and I’ve edited a feature film for my friend and I’ve edited a few other things both professionally and not, but I would really like to be paid to cut a feature film. This is a professional and creative goal, which, I guess, are the best kind, right?

I think that’s it. A lot of things there, but nothing that is out of reach. And though this post may seem megalomaniacal and self-absorbed, I really don’t think it is. It’s about creating and sharing and inspiring and being inspired. I think those things are important and I think they are things we need to actively engage. I know that I definitely need to engage them or I start to feel lost, floating, unproductive. Adrift. Being creative and productive, as Jesse and I discussed recently, is vital to feeling good about myself. Hell, in the end, it helps me sleep knowing that I’ve accomplished something, even if it is minor. I have something thoughts a’brewing about at least one of these goals, so keep your eyes on The Black Laser in the coming weeks for some new fun material.